BMW X5 review - Interior, design and technology
A new platform opens many new technology doors for the BMW X5, while its quality interior offers a luxurious feel
The latest BMW X5 is instantly recognisable, which is something you can say about most other German manufacturers’ evolving model lines. Revisions made to the exterior styling bring it more in line with the brand’s current design themes, so there are thinner headlamps to match the BMW X6, plus you can option an illuminated kidney grille to match that car and the pricier BMW XM. There isn’t quite as much altered at the back besides a set of new tail lights.
Inside, the X5 features the latest curved digital dashboard comprising a 12.3-inch driver display and a 14.9-inch central touchscreen display lifted from the all-electric BMW iX. It replaces the physical buttons for the climate controls, and while the temperature and menu icon are permanently on display, it won’t be as easy to adjust on the move as with the rotary dials of the Range Rover Sport. Also, the digital driver display doesn’t have the level of customisation you’ll find from Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as featured in the Audi Q7.
The interior quality is excellent, with fine materials and finishes in evidence, and an overall sense that it’s all screwed together very convincingly. You can option leather upholstery on the seats and dashboard to replace the standard vegan alternative, along with polished glass for the start/stop button, gear lever and iDrive controller. Speaking of iDrive, there’s also the latest version of BMW’s iDrive control system, which works well, although it’s getting increasingly complicated to navigate.
Interesting options for the new X5 include a panoramic sunroof with a starlight night-time illumination mode. You can also have laser headlamps that pierce the gloom with a 500-metre maximum range. Meanwhile, the Offroad pack mentioned earlier brings four loose-surface driving modes – sand, rock, gravel and snow – and adds underbody protection for X5 users who want to see a bit more of the countryside.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The infotainment set-up features wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, while Android Auto is provided through a wired connection. The main interface is the iDrive controller situated next to the gear lever, which controls the 14.9-inch screen, although you can also interact with it via touch. The screen's graphics are crisp, and it responds swiftly to inputs. There’s another screen (12.3-inch) in front of the driver, but it’s not as configurable as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
As you’d expect, the X5 comes with sat-nav and a fine standard audio system, but if you’re an audiophile, there’s always a 16-speaker, 415-watt Harman Kardon sound system. Or if you’re really hard to please, a 1,500-watt, 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins diamond surround sound system for even crisper sound quality.
In this review
- 1BMW X5 reviewThe BMW X5 remains an outstanding choice in the large SUV class, delivering superb performance, practicality and tech
- 2Engines, performance and driveX5 buyers have the option of either petrol, diesel, or plug-in hybrid power; all offering punchy performance
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFuel efficiency is good for a hefty SUV, but other running costs won’t be cheap
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingA new platform opens many new technology doors for the BMW X5, while its quality interior offers a luxurious feel
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceAs before, the BMW X5 is available with seven seats, meaning it’s hard to fault for family-friendly appeal
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe X5 includes plenty of safety tech, while there's improved customer feedback for BMW in our Driver Power satisfaction survey